Monday, December 19, 2011

Register now for FREE Food Co-op/Buying Club Start-up Training Webinars!

Food Co-op Initiative ( and CDS Consulting Co-op ( are pleased to present a series of all-new webinars addressing the specific needs of new food co-op organizers!

The series of six live presentations will begin on January 10. All sessions will run from 2:00-3:00 pm EST (1:00 to 2:00 Central; 12:00-1:00 Mountain; and 11:00-12:00 Pacific).

January 10, 2012
Creating a Vision
Presented by Bill Gessner, CDS Consulting, and Stuart Reid, Food Co-op Initiative

January 17, 2012
Create Priorities and Build Alignment for Each Stage
Presented by Bill Gessner and Jeanie Wells, CDS Consulting

January 24, 2012
Co-op Technology Toolkit
Presented by Jake Schlachter, Food Co-op Initiative

January 31
Starting a New Buying Club
Presented by Stuart Reid and/or Jake Schlachter, Food Co-op Initiative

February 7, 2012
Effective Boards and Teams: Structure and Accountability
Presented by Ben Sandel and Michael Healy, CDS Consulting

February 14, 2012
Effective Boards and Teams: Team work, process and decision making
Presented by Ben Sandel and Michael Healy, with Art Sherwood, CDS Consulting

Click Here: -- for detailed descriptions of each webinar and to register.

Note: You must register separately for each webinar you plan to attend. FCI and CDS-CC are providing these sessions at no cost to you; however, you may incur telephone or data charges to participate.

See you there!
Food Co-op Initiative

Friday, December 16, 2011

HR 3677 - It's Official!

It's official,
Congressman Chaka Fattah introduced the National Cooperative Development Act - H.R. 3677 on December 15th.

"It's high time for Cooperatives -- a great idea that has emerged from and gained success in our urban neighborhoods as well as rural communities – to move onto the national radar," said Fattah. "This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to the effort."

Spread the good news
Tell all of your fellow cooperators about this exciting bill, forward to your email lists and press contacts, talk about it on Facebook, and on Twitter use #HR3677. Be sure to send everyone to join the campaign!

Here's the press release from Congressman Fattah's office:

You can track the bill at:

The bill was introduced with 3 co-sponsors - Bob Brady (PA-1), Barbara Lee (CA-9), and John Tierney (MA-6).
We definitely need more - from both urban and rural areas and from both “sides of the aisle.” We expect more to follow soon - but we need you to make sure it happens.

If you HAVE met with or contacted your Representative's office, follow up with them and make sure their expressed support becomes an actual co-sponsorship.

If you HAVE NOT arranged a visit with your Member of Congress yet, call the local office, and ask to speak with the staffperson who works on small business, and economic development issues. Tell them about the bill briefly and ask for a visit to explain further.
Find your Representative's contact info at:
Check out the campaign website for advice on how to advocate.

Report back
Use this form to tell us about your visit. Let us know who you meet with, and their contact info so we can follow up and ensure they become a co-sponsor. You can always email or call too.

Thank you for your continued support!
Peter Frank
Cooperation Works! - Advocacy Coordinator

Copyright © 2011 Cooperation Works!, All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rep. Fattah Introduces Bill to Spur the National Cooperative Movement



Contact: Ron Goldwyn 215/387.6404

Rep. Fattah Introduces Bill to Spur the National Cooperative Movement

WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 15 – Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Congressional leader for the national cooperative movement, especially urban co-ops, today introduced the National Cooperative Development Act.

“It’s high time for Cooperatives -- a great idea that has emerged from and gained success in our urban neighborhoods as well as rural communities – to move onto the national radar,” said Fattah, whose Philadelphia district includes numerous thriving co-ops. “This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to the effort.

“Cooperatives are a special kind of economic stimulus. Cooperatives benefit the communities they serve while building opportunities for shared wealth. Cooperatives are truly vehicles for protecting the middle class and creating economic growth,” Fattah said.

The Fattah bill, H.R. 3677, authorizes $25 million a year through 2016 to create and fund the National Cooperative Development Center.

Cooperatives are owned and controlled by the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods. They range in size from the local corner store to Fortune 500 companies, and can include insurance, healthcare, housing, recreation materials and equipment as well as more traditional uses such as rural electricity. Overall, U.S. cooperatives account for more than $3 trillion in assets, over $500 billion in total revenue, $25 billion in wages and benefits, and nearly 1 million jobs.

“We have food deserts in low-income urban areas where food cooperatives are often the only enterprises willing to bring food security and nutrition while anchoring the buy-local campaigns we see happening everywhere,” Fattah said. “Every new or expanded cooperative, regardless of the goods or services it provides, will be a job creator and an economic engine where it’s most needed.”

Fattah pointed out that cooperatives still face many problems, including difficulty in gaining access to capital, which can stunt the growth of even the most successful enterprises.

In addition, Fattah noted, “the unique nature of the cooperative ownership model requires that cooperative operators receive specialized training and assistance in setting up the governance, operations, and financial structures that are required to run a successful cooperative.

“Co-ops need help that the federal government will now be in a position to provide,” Fattah said. “The legislation addresses these problems by establishing the Development Center to provide capital, training, and other resources to foster cooperative development.”

The National Cooperative Development Center will:

  • Award grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities so that they can provide technical assistance to operating cooperatives or groups that are attempting to form cooperatives;

· Provide guidance, information on best practices and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives;

  • Create a revolving loan fund to provide loans and seed capital to groups who are attempting to form cooperatives;

· Provide funding for training of providers of technical assistance and supporting existing professional development training for organizations engaged in cooperative development;

· Establish cooperative development centers in areas that currently do not have them.


Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) •

2301 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 • 4104 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (202) 225-4001(215) 387-6404

By Land and By Sea: Leveraging Co-ops for Business Success--Conference in Unity, ME Jan 19

Eat Maine Foods is sponsoring a one-day conference for Maine farmers & fishermen on the cooperative model of doing business. See, and go to to register.

CDI staff will be presenting a couple of workshops. One of the main organizers was CDI's board president, Erica Buswell.

More details:
Thursday, January 19, 2012 in Unity, Maine 9am to 5:30pm
  • Learn exactly what a cooperatively-organized business is all about. What are the advantages, what are the different types of co-ops, and why might it make sense for your business? We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of co-ops.
  • Connect with Experienced Co-operative Business People. What are the financing options for co-ops? What local resources are available for start-up, problem-solving and co-operative business development? Go home with connections and an action plan for moving your co-op business or idea forward.
  • Celebrate 2012: International Year of Co-operatives. Hear first-hand stories from other farmers and fishermen about how they have implemented a co-operative business. What worked? What obstacles did they overcome and how?
Sponsored by The Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine and its members: Putting more Maine food on more Maine tables more often!
With support from and participation of: Lobsters on the Fly, MOFGA, Maine Department of Agriculture, Penobscot East Resource Center, Maine Farmland Trust, Cooperative Maine, Island Institute, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Local Sprouts Cooperative, Cooperative Fund of New England, The Broadreach Fund, Cooperative Development Institute and more!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homestead Acres Vermont's newest Resident-Owned Community

Congratulations to the 26 residents of Homestead Acres Mobile Home Park in Swanton, VT for officially purchasing their community today! The residents' association, Homestead Acres Co-op, is the second to take ownership of a manufactured housing community or "mobile home park" in the State of Vermont in less than half a year--this after an 18 year period in which no resident owned communities were developed in the state. CDI provided the cooperative with pre-closing technical assistance and will provide ongoing support for years to come! Homestead Acres Co-op joins a nationwide network of 117 resident owned communities developed according to the ROC USA limited equity model (, which has ensured that nearly 7,000 units of housing will remain permanently affordable.

Many thanks to ROCUSA Capital and the Cooperative Fund of New England for providing financing! Also, stay tuned for pictures and a press release.